5 Nursing Tips for the New Mom

As with anything parenting-related, everyone has their own experiences. I like to share mine because I’m hopeful that they will help another mom in the future. With my oldest, I desperately wanted to breastfeed. Aside from being the healthiest choice for the baby, I knew the nursing would save me a lot of money and I was a single, working mom at the time. Not knowing anything at all about breastfeeding, I made some mistakes that dwindled my supply away and we started formula within weeks.

Before I had my second, I got all of the advice and tips that I could. People told me that it’s much easier the second time around but there are so many things that I just plain did NOT know. For instance, did you know that a baby’s stomach is about the size of a cherry on the first day? At one week, it’s about the size of an apricot and an egg around one month. This told me that my baby wasn’t going to starve if I didn’t think I was producing much quite yet, because her belly was still growing with my supply.

Here are some nursing tips I’ve got to share after breastfeeding my three littles:

1. Don’t supplement too early. With my oldest, I believed when my family told me that she was starving because I wasn’t producing enough. They said that I should just supplement with formula until my milk came in. The problem was, breastmilk works on a supply and demand basis so when I was feeding her with a bottle instead of nursing her, I was only hurting my supply. Also, the breast takes more effort for the baby to get milk so when she was getting this pouring flow with the bottle, that became her preference.

With my second, she was fussy while we waited for my milk to come in and the hospital told me that if I felt she needed more, I could use a liquid syringe and squirt just a few milliliters into her mouth slowly. She was very tiny so the hospital wanted to make sure she was getting sustenance. This worked out well, my milk came in and I went on to nurse her for eight months.

2. Nurse on-demand. At least, at first. In the hospital with my second, I was lectured by a pediatrician that I shouldn’t allow myself to become her pacifier. It seemed to soothe her and she wasn’t interested in an actual pacifier so I decided to go with my gut. It made sense to me, knowing about the supply and demand process of nursing, that I should let her suckle as much as she needed to to tell my body how much to make for her. It never harmed us and I think it really helped!

3. Wear something on your breasts at night. Be it a bra, sports bra, or tank top, I would wear something to cover yourself at night. I prefer not to feel restricted but I quickly learned that if I don’t, Niagara Falls comes pouring down all over your pillow and bed. Not very fun! (My favorite nursing apparel comes from Momzelle!)

4. Make sure you’ve got the latch right. In the first few weeks of breastfeeding, it has always hurt me like hot needles stabbing me but I know they say that if you are doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt. I was convinced I was doing it right, I’d breastfed my second for 8 months and my third for 14. How could I possibly have it wrong? After I had my son, I expressed my feelings about the pain and my midwife checked out the latch he had. She told me that his lips should have been opened differently and I was fairly certain I’d nursed this exact same way with all of my children. Having your latch checked and also, the baby checked for tongue and lip ties is important, especially if you’re experiencing discomfort!

5. Use something to prop the baby. I prefer nursing pillows, personally. When I first began, I wasn’t using anything and it killed my neck and back to nurse. The hospital nurse told me to try regular pillows but they felt too sunken in and difficult to position. After I bought a nursing pillow, it made nursing so much easier. The improved posture made a huge difference in the breastfeeding experience and probably made it better for the baby too.

What are some tips and/or experiences you’d like to share?

5 nursing tips

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